HomeDecentralized EnergyCogeneration CHPLessons learned from Hurricane Sandy

Lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy

While much attention is being devoted to where power was lost in New York and its surround this past week during the storm, less focus has been placed on where the power was maintained.

Forbes describes the situation in those parts of the city that continued to be powered during Sandy in an article entitled ‘Lessons From Where The Lights Stayed On During Sandy’ with cogeneration emerging with a great deal of credit.
Co-op City - NYC
William Pentland writes in Forbes, “the long-term strategy for avoiding future train wrecks like those that resulted from Hurricane Sandy begins not where electric power was lost but where it wasn’t.”

Located on 330 acres in the Baychester section of the Bronx in northeast New York City, Co-Op City is one of the largest housing cooperatives in the world and the largest residential development in the United States, and one such example of where cogeneration came into play.

The so-called “city within a city” boasts more than 14,000 apartment units, 35 high rise buildings, seven clusters of townhouses, eight parking garages, three shopping centers, a high school, two middle schools and three grade schools, and critically it also boasts a 40 MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

“We decided to invest in an onsite cogeneration plantà‚ because weà‚ wanted toà‚ save money by producing our own electricity and capturing the waste heat to provide our residents with hot water and space cooling,”à‚ said Herb Freedman, a principal of Marion Real Estate, Inc., which manages Co-op City for the Riverbay Corporation. “We have certainly saved money, but weà‚ are also really happy to provide our residents with the added benefit of independence from the power grid.”

Co-op City’s cogeneration plant kept the lights on for its more than 60,000 residents during and after Hurricane Sandy’s gale force winds and storm surge. It provides a point of departure for how best to prevent the next Hurricane Sandy from becoming a catastrophe.

“Hurricane Sandy hit Co-op City about as hard as it hit most anywhere else in New York City, butà‚ everybody in Co-op City had power before, during and after the storm, ” said Freedman.

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